Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Logo for

Science 329 (5995): 1075-1078

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Insects Betray Themselves in Nature to Predators by Rapid Isomerization of Green Leaf Volatiles

Silke Allmann1,2, and Ian T. Baldwin1,*

Abstract: Plants emit green leaf volatiles (GLVs) in response to herbivore damage, thereby attracting predators of the herbivores as part of an indirect defense. The GLV component of this indirect defense was thought to be a general wound signal lacking herbivore-specific information. We found that Manduca sexta–infested Nicotiana attenuata attract the generalist hemipteran predator Geocoris spp. as the result of an herbivore-induced decrease in the (Z)/(E) ratio of released GLVs, and that these changes in the volatile bouquet triple the foraging efficiency of predators in nature. These (E)-isomers are produced from plant-derived (Z)-isomers but are converted by a heat-labile constituent of herbivore oral secretions. Hence, attacking herbivores initiate the release of an indirect defense a full day before the attacked plants manufacture their own defensive compounds.

1 Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knöll-Str. 8, DE-07745 Jena, Germany.
2 Department of Plant Physiology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, Netherlands.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: baldwin{at}

Evidence that dimethyl sulfide facilitates a tritrophic mutualism between marine primary producers and top predators.
M. S. Savoca and G. A. Nevitt (2014)
PNAS 111, 4157-4161
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Traumatin- and Dinortraumatin-containing Galactolipids in Arabidopsis: THEIR FORMATION IN TISSUE-DISRUPTED LEAVES AS COUNTERPARTS OF GREEN LEAF VOLATILES.
A. Nakashima, S. H. von Reuss, H. Tasaka, M. Nomura, S. Mochizuki, Y. Iijima, K. Aoki, D. Shibata, W. Boland, J. Takabayashi, et al. (2013)
J. Biol. Chem. 288, 26078-26088
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The HERBIVORE ELICITOR-REGULATED1 Gene Enhances Abscisic Acid Levels and Defenses against Herbivores in Nicotiana attenuata Plants.
S. T. Dinh, I. T. Baldwin, and I. Galis (2013)
Plant Physiology 162, 2106-2124
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Honing in on phenotypes: comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography of herbivory-induced volatile emissions and novel opportunities for system-level analyses.
E. Gaquerel and I. T. Baldwin (2013)
AoB Plants 5, plt002
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Feeding-induced rearrangement of green leaf volatiles reduces moth oviposition.
S. Allmann, A. Spathe, S. Bisch-Knaden, M. Kallenbach, A. Reinecke, S. Sachse, I. T. Baldwin, and B. S. Hansson (2013)
eLife Sci 2, e00421
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Indirect routes to reproductive success.
J. Pickett (2012)
eLife Sci 1, e00240
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Empoasca leafhoppers attack wild tobacco plants in a jasmonate-dependent manner and identify jasmonate mutants in natural populations.
M. Kallenbach, G. Bonaventure, P. A. Gilardoni, A. Wissgott, and I. T. Baldwin (2012)
PNAS 109, E1548-E1557
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NaJAZh Regulates a Subset of Defense Responses against Herbivores and Spontaneous Leaf Necrosis in Nicotiana attenuata Plants.
Y. Oh, I. T. Baldwin, and I. Galis (2012)
Plant Physiology 159, 769-788
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Antennal Lobe Processing Correlates to Moth Olfactory Behavior.
L. S. Kuebler, M. Schubert, Z. Karpati, B. S. Hansson, and S. B. Olsson (2012)
J. Neurosci. 32, 5772-5782
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Herbivory-induced volatiles function as defenses increasing fitness of the native plant Nicotiana attenuata in nature.
M. C. Schuman, K. Barthel, and I. T. Baldwin (2012)
eLife Sci 1, e00007
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Parasitoid-specific induction of plant responses to parasitized herbivores affects colonization by subsequent herbivores.
E. H. Poelman, S.-J. Zheng, Z. Zhang, N. M. Heemskerk, A.-M. Cortesero, and M. Dicke (2011)
PNAS 108, 19647-19652
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Can forest trees compensate for stress-generated growth losses by induced production of volatile compounds?.
J. K. Holopainen (2011)
Tree Physiol 31, 1356-1377
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Ectopic Expression of AtJMT in Nicotiana attenuata: Creating a Metabolic Sink Has Tissue-Specific Consequences for the Jasmonate Metabolic Network and Silences Downstream Gene Expression.
M. Stitz, K. Gase, I. T. Baldwin, and E. Gaquerel (2011)
Plant Physiology 157, 341-354
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Two mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases, MKK1 and MEK2, are involved in wounding- and specialist lepidopteran herbivore Manduca sexta-induced responses in Nicotiana attenuata.
M. Heinrich, I. T. Baldwin, and J. Wu (2011)
J. Exp. Bot. 62, 4355-4365
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Trichome-derived O-acyl sugars are a first meal for caterpillars that tags them for predation.
A. Weinhold and I. T. Baldwin (2011)
PNAS 108, 7855-7859
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882